Dummy airport Marrum

 The air war over the Wadden region cost a lot of lives. Even exercises were not without danger. Discover the impressive stories in the Kweldercentrum and the preserved observation bunker of dummy airport Marrum.

In the Noarderleech salt-marsh area near Marrum, the German army constructed a military training area in 1940 - SF10 Marrum. SF is the abbreviation for Scheinflughafen (dummy airport). German pilots practised here by throwing exercise bombs of concrete and iron on wooden models of ships. They needed to throw their bombs during dives.

But they threw more than just harmless training bombs over the fake airport. For safety reasons, pilots were never allowed to land with their payload still on board. The training area also had to suffer 'emergency throws’ of real bombs. After an emergency throw, a non-exploded bomb needed to be removed as quickly as possible and that was not without risk. On 6 June 1942, three German servicemen lost their lives in the process. In 1941, an observation bunker was built on the training area to observe the results of the training bombardments and artillery fire from a safe position.

Training flights were not without danger. That was proven by the death of the 21-year old NCO Georg Wilhelm, a pilot from Leipzig. On 16 July 1943 he took off in his plane from Fliegerhorst Leeuwarden to throw training bombs over Noarderleech.

After he finished, Georg continued circling over the area to see the result of his throw. Unfortunately he made a fatal control error and his plane crashed from about five hundred metres. The plane hit the ground at high speed and Georg Wilhelm died instantly. The wreck penetrated deep into the soft soil of the training area, where it still is today.

In the unstaffed Kweldercentrum you can find out more about the air war in the Wadden area. Follow that with a walk through the beautiful Noard-Fryslân Bûtendyks and take a look in the observation bunker. From the roof you have a fabulous view of the expanse of Noarderleech.

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